In our new report, we call on the Government to establish a Food and Poverty Strategy for the UK.
Step Up to the Plate is the latest piece of detailed research to back up Church Action on Poverty’s work to End Hunger in the UK. We produced the report jointly with Dr Hannah Lambie-Mumford, a food policy expert at the University of Sheffield.
In the report, we outline the growing problem of household food insecurity; explain why charitable responses are not enough; highlight the failure of current government policy to respond to the crisis; and explain how the government could step up to the plate and take responsibility for ending hunger in the UK.
We call for five key steps:
- Appoint a minister or department charged with responsibility for coordinating a policy response across government, which also takes into account the role of local government, the devolved administrations, civil society and business.
- Measure household food insecurity each year, by adopting and using the internationally agreed definition of household food insecurity.
- Free people from the threat of food insecurity. Government should build a vision to ensure people can access and enjoy food in socially acceptable ways, not just today but next week and next month. Policy should address not only food crisis and minimum diets, but vulnerability, social acceptability and inclusion. Solutions need to be broad, ambitious and include all stakeholders.
- Listen to people with first-hand experience of hunger and use their experiences, as well as informed research, as the basis for policy. This would bring to the forefront of policy design the lived experiences of household food insecurity and frontline experiences of responding to them; as well as drawing on the increasing amounts of research on household food insecurity and need for emergency food provision.
- Lead the way in ending hunger and household food insecurity. What is needed is a strong and effective universal and entitlement-based approach, ensuring everyone can eat well and participate fully. To achieve this, government will need to play a leadership role – bringing all stakeholders together but taking ultimate responsibility.
Dr Hannah Lambie-Mumford says:
“This report sets out why it is so important that we have a government-led strategy on food and poverty in the UK. Relying on charities to plug the gaps when people cannot access enough food to feed themselves and their families is unsustainable. A comprehensive policy strategy is urgently required to ensure genuine progress begins to be made towards making secure access to food for all a reality.”
- Church Action on Poverty carried out this research as a member of the End Hunger UK coalition. Click here to find out more about End Hunger UK.
- On 2 February, MPs will debate taking action to measure household food insecurity – one of the key asks in our report. Click here to send your MP an email and ask them to support the bill.